getting old vs. aging
One is a Natural Process, The Other Sucks
I used to think 40 was old.
I remember the day my dad turned 40.
I though – because really, I had no idea of a sense of time – that he was going to die soon.
My dad was my hero… still is even now that he’s 70.
As I write this, I’m 42 years old… and I realize how wrong I was.
Especially now where it’s common to see people live well into their 90s.
But I think nowadays that we have to ask the question…
Even though we're all getting older...
Can we age well & gracefully?
Can we have a great quality of life and dependent on things like…
- medication & pills
- physical aids like canes, wheel chairs, walkers and oxygen machines
- even other people like nurses, caregivers or loved ones
I don’t know about you, but my goal as a father of 5 is to be independent well into old age.
I don’t want to be a burden to my children or my grandchildren.
So I’m doing everything I can NOW to stall and even REVERSE the aging process.
We can't prevent getting old, but can do things in our life to delay and even REVERSE AGING.
As we age, we start to lose muscle mass – a process called SARCOPENIA.
The average sedentary adult will lose 3-5% of lean mass per decade after the age of 30. (1)
If you’re already active – which I’m guessing you are if you’re reading this – then you’re on the right track.
But regardless if you stay active or not, research shows that your body will SELECTIVELY choose to atrophy (or breakdown) your Fast Twitch Muscle (Type IIb & IIx muscle fibres) more than your Slow Twitch Muscle. (2)
Because of that, strength and power are lost as we age unless we purposely train our fast twitch muscle fibres.
Fast twitch muscle fibres are responsible for activities like…
- throwing your kid up in the air and catching them
- pushing someone out of the path of a speeding car
- jumping up to grab the helium balloon that’s stuck on the ceiling
- getting up off a toilet
…You know, all that superhero stuff.
So even though the mainstream has always said that cardiovascular activities like walking, hiking and cycling are good enough to maintain a good quality of life for an aging population – and they are – …
…none of those activities address strength or power which are crucial to living an optimal life as we get older.
So in order to both preserve and build fast twitch muscle, we must train a specific way targeting the correct energy systems and pathways to elicit a growth response.
Your fast twitch fibres respond to heavy and explosive exercises that use the entire system.
Full body exercises like the Olympic Lifts, Squats, Deadlifts, Presses and Chin-Ups will work your fast twitch fibres.
So yes, continue going for walks first thing in the morning on a fasted stomach for fat loss…
…continue with the endurance training (cycling clubs, running clubs, obstacle course races, etc) for the fun social aspect…
…BUT remember that your body, as you age, will naturally choose to hold onto those slow twitch fibres that you use for those activities.
You MUST train for strength and POWER as you get older to hold onto your Fast Twitch Muscle and prevent & reverse AGING.
And you have to do it safely and in a manner that is controlled, progressive and isn’t technically demanding (Olympic Lifts are great, but it takes years – sometimes decades – for people to get the technique).
So if muscle keeps you young, but starting Olympic Lifting or the 3 Power Lifts (Squat, Bench, Deadlift) is not realistic for you…
Then I’ve got a workout for you to try.
But first, let’s dispel this one big myth…